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Egyptian death toll in Mecca hajj stampede rises to 55; 120 missing

Ahram Online , Sunday 27 Sep 2015
Emergency services attend to victims crushed in a crowd in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the annual hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.( Photo : AP)

The number of Egyptian pilgrims who were killed during Wednesday's deadly stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has risen to 55, the Minister of Religious Endowments said in a press concerence on Sunday.

Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, who is the head of the 2015 Egyptian pilgrimage delegation, added that 120 Egyptians are still unaccounted for.

He added that 26 Egyptians who were among the injured during the stampede remain hospitalised.

Egyptian officials had said that according to their information as of Saturday the number of Egyptians killed during the crush stood at 37 and those injured at 31.

According to Saudi authorities, the death toll in the Mena stampede has reached 769 as of Saturday with at least 934 injured. 

Gomaa added that the Egyptian pilgrimage delegation would announce on Wednesday the final death toll of Egyptians in the current Hajj season, saying the numbers would include those who died in the Mena stampede, those who were killed in the Grand Mosque of Mecca crane disaster in early September, as well as  those who died of natural causes.

The Wednesday stampede occurred as pilgrims converged on the site of Mena just outside Mecca to take part in the symbolic stoning of the devil that marks the last day of the hajj.

The ritual involves pilgrims throwing pebbles at one of three pillars representing Satan.

Almost two million pilgrims took part in the stoning ritual this year.

An estimated 62,000 Egyptians performed the pilgrimage this year.

Hajj, one of the five major pillars of Islam, must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who can afford the trip.

The Saudi authorities have opened an official investigation into the causes of the stampede, and vowed to review hajj regulations.

On 11 September, five Egyptians were among the 107 people killed when a massive construction crane crashed into Mecca's Grand Mosque during stormy weather. 

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